Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When Puppies Interfere With Your Writing

Write About Puppies

You will bend to my will.
Dogs have owned us most of our lives. Greta was a Miniature Schnauzer who thought she was the pack leader of our family even though she depended on us for the basics: food, water, shelter and more.

She needed twice-a-day shots for diabetes, frequent Vet appointments for pancreatitis, Cushing's Disease, glaucoma that blinded her and eventually took her beautiful clear brown eyes.
Her medical history would fill a small novel.

We've missed her for three years, and finally, quit fighting the urge to hear paws on the floor once more.

We tried for a while to adopt a rescue dog from a shelter. Circumstance and compatibility couldn't seem to get coordinated. We gave up and decided to postpone dog ownership.


Enter Leia.

And by "enter" I mean full speed ahead, roll around corners, enthusiasm. She comes with a frenzied whirlwind of face-licking while climbing out of your grip, wriggling like a sheet on a clothesline in northern Arizona wind.

This will come as a surprise to you, but puppies have no respect for carpet, tile, or expensive wool area rugs. In fact, the latter they will abuse from both ends: chewing as well as ... you know.

They bring something else into the house beside the occasional accident. Puppy breath, antics, and eternal cuteness that would pull a heart as cold as dry ice into their joie de vivre.

She also has no respect for my need to sit quietly at a computer keyboard and type. Leia interrupts novels, short stories, and blogs with happy abandon.

It's kind of nice.

Add your dog story. Leave a comment.
Posted on Wednesdays
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Big Brother

February 15, 1938

Confused Sunrise

According to Wikipedia, on this date, Kurt Schuschnigg appointed two pro-Nazi members to his cabinet. One as Minister of the Interior, and the other as Minister of Justice.

History tells us what the Nazi party grew up to become.

Around the world on a poor farm in Runnels County, Texas, another appointment of sorts was made. Some say it was a necessary birth to balance Hitler's evil; some say it was not a counterpoint but rather a toe-to-toe match. Evil for evil. The jury is still out.

It's my big brother Roy's birthday.

If the family history is to be believed, the doctor slapped Mom, and on that very day, Dad took the worm medicine from his plow mule, Twitch, figuring his new son would need it more.

In from milking cows.
Records are hard to come by for the next two and half years. It was a dismal time for the small farming community of Wingate and a Dust Bowl type exodus cleared the area of civilized folks although no one blamed the weather.

People are resilient, though, and the remaining farmers (I think they were probably hog farmers) gave Roy a welcoming place in the district. And he excelled!

I don't think I've ever seen Roy study a book but he was, and is, a straight A student of anything that catches his fancy: art, mathematics, music (trumpet), animal husbandry, engineering, and his current conquest - writing novels.

To be sure, there have been lapses. I saw him grab an electrified fence timed perfectly to when an Australian Shepard licked his bare toe. For some reason, Roy thought that only the dog, being "the last in line", would get the shock. Roy and dog launched like fireworks.
How many guys would be so thoughtful as to give their little brothers such a happy memory that's lasted so many years?

And there are many happy memories.

A long history with dogs.
Roy is now the patriarch of our family. There could be no one better. Happy birthday, big brother. I hope you enjoy many more.

 Posted on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine Kiss

He didn't know the old woman in the other chair and didn't really want to. He wanted to stare out the window at the lawn and shrubs. He let her drone on, her voice was pleasing, giving him comfort in some strange way.

He saw a young man, straight and tall in an Army uniform, carrying a single rose toward a dark-haired miss in a yellow dress. The old man knew the soldier's thumb lightly stroked a rose petal, feeling the velvet thrill of the fragrant flower, anticipating the greater joy of touching the girl's cheek.

She smiled and broke the old man's heart. The soldier, he knew, would be lost in a smile from those lips - redder than the rose.

His country needed the young man to leave his home, family, and friends to face the trials of combat. He had endured.

Strong enough to win battles, he couldn't resist her lips. One kiss and his surrender would be total: his hands looking for nothing more, his mind not inventing scenarios for afterward. The kiss would tell her how her image kept his determination to survive intact. The gentle melding of such a kiss more forceful and mighty than armies in conflict.

The kiss would carry his desire, his hope, his promise. The kiss would make her understand. The kiss would say, "For you, I returned. For you, I will live." The kiss would seal happiness inside the soldier for a lifetime.

An aide approached the old couple by the window. "He always calms down when you come, Mrs. Everett," she said. "It such a shame he doesn't know that you're here. Do you think you have to keep coming daily?"

Mrs. Everett waved the question away, then grimaced, as she used a cane to stand. "Did I tell you that he proposed to me in a field not far from here on Valentine's Day?" she said. "Well, it was a field then. There's a supermarket on it now."
Mrs. Everett turned to the window. "It's too bad those apartments are blocking the view, otherwise he might be able to see it from here."

The aide made small talk and helped Mrs. Everett gather her things. Finally, Mrs. Everett drew from a bag a red rose, the thorns carefully removed and placed it on the old man's lap. She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

The soldier knew the old man had bright red lipstick on his face. The answer, "I do and I will."

Leave a comment.
Blog is posted on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Finding Characters

Use Your Family and Friends

If there were a desert whirlwind of Charybdis size that gathered tale-worthy characters, it would swirl over Mohave County, Arizona, and deposit them through its vortex at Kingman.

It seems every family had a collection of notable oddballs, ranging from pre-schoolers to nonagenarian, male or female. What a rich source of characters for a writer.

Naturally, some unfortunate families had fewer of these luminaries. Some quirks occurred as the result of trauma, like diving off the cliffs into Lake Mohave, some in response to, "I dare you," which could have been the same occurrence in this case.
We Started Early

Tattle on the Kids - It's Time for Them to Pay

Our family was blessed.We always had a natural talent for weirdness that manifested itself at an early age in our offspring. One event comes to mind when two nephews were in a spitting contest. Their target was steaks broiling on the grill. Hit or miss, they were fascinated with the dancing bubbles or instant flash and angry hiss of charcoal briquettes. Their father had paid a large amount of his weekly salary for those steaks so he considered the boys had just tenderized them.

Another youngster was way ahead of the nightmare curve when he became convinced that Bigfoot was a clear and personal danger. At a campout, he grew increasingly agitated toward dusk. When asked what was wrong, he stated that in the past, Bigfoot had been seen near Flagstaff. He was reminded that he was 160 miles from Flag. His reply - "Do you know how fast Bigfoot can run? He can run down here and kill me and be back in Flagstaff by morning."
Do you have that kind of faith in your antagonist?

Accomplished Cousins

I have a cousin who is a real sweetheart - since she began raising her kids. You can't get her to admit it, but I believe she rode the rails in Texas when her dad worked for the railroad. Later, she was probably a taxi dancer at a reservation casino at Snoqualmie Pass. She's a wonderful woman, never was a bad kid, just interesting and adventurous. I'll have to sit down with her some day and record some tales she's heard about. Wink, wink.

These are a few ideas for starters. Look around you with fresh eyes. What you see every day may not be quite so normal, but much more captivating, for your story.

Is there anyone in your family pen-worthy? Leave a comment.
Blog is published on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.